Improving Patient Quality of Life with Feedback to Physicians About Functional Status

Published in: Journal of General Internal Medicine, v. 10, Nov. 1995, p. 607-614

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 1994

by Lisa V. Rubenstein, J. Michael McCoy, Dennis W. Cope, Pamela Anne Barrett, Susan H. Hirsch, Karen S. Messer, Roy Young

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Describes a randomized trial designed to improve patients' quality of life through feedback to physicians about functional status. The trial was conducted in a university primary care clinic among 73 internal medicine house officers. The intervention included (1) computer-generated feedback to the physicians about patients' self-reported functional status and their primary complaints, (2) problem-specific resource and management guidelines, and (3) two brief interactive educational sessions for physicians. Results indicated that emotional well-being scores improved significantly for patients in the experimental group, compared to patients seen by the control-group physicians. Limitations in social activities due to health decreased among the elderly in the experimental group, and experimental group physicians diagnosed more symptoms of stress or anxiety. These results need to be tested for generalizability, and cost-effective ways need to be developed to apply the results to the everyday practice of medicine.

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